Sisters of the Holy Cross » leadership lessons » The Man Who Neglected His House

The Man Who Neglected His House

posted in: leadership lessons
Leadership Lesson of the Sisters of the Holy Cross

How do we model true leadership in these ever-changing, divisive times? With the words and actions of many world leaders called into question—and as we approach elections in the United States and abroad—how can the Sisters of the Holy Cross influence the discourse so that the essence of true leadership is exemplified? In this series, we contemplate the ancient wisdom found in fables and sayings from a variety of countries and cultures, illuminated by reflections from our sisters, that can inform our path forward as we strive to live as servant leaders in the model of Jesus.

by Sister Lilian Briege Awino, CSC, Kenya 

A story is told in Luo culture of a man who married and built a house and then left his wife in the village to go look for a job. He came back and checked on his wife, but soon left.

While he was away, his good house started cracking and needed maintenance. Many attempts to reach him were futile and he never imagined his good house could crack. His wife became lonely and disappointed and was advised by the elders to go back to her parents.

The man finally resurfaced one day with goodies, but when he arrived he found out that his wife had left him, and the house had collapsed.

A home is more than a building, it is the people who live in it. They need care, affection, protection and love. If one cannot repair the house in good time, one will end up having to build a new one, on a new foundation, just as the man in the story had to start all over again. This story provides several leadership lessons.

As a Sister of the Holy Cross, if I don’t deal immediately with small issues and problems that need immediate attention, then I will end up dealing with larger crises and scandals. It will be too late by then to repair them. Therefore, I feel called to stop injustices that happen around me and mend the cracked walls in time. 

It also reminds me to care for those with whom I am entrusted, and to reconcile often and not hold grudges. I also need to be watchful for any cracks in my own life, by staying in tune with myself through meditation, prayer and reflection.

I’ve also learned the importance of dealing with emergencies immediately as they arise so that they do not escalate into something bigger and get out of hand. Also, it is good to follow-up with people often, through visitations or one-on-one talks, to know how they are doing.